Alter and Hayes see no evil: Will Biden announce that he’s running this weekend? The pundit corps has been wishin’ and hopin’.
Those pundits! Presumably, they want an exciting race, filled with as many personalities as possible. This allows them to write about personalities, rather than about the issues which they find so boring.
That said, there’s another obvious motive. They want the chance to extend their favorite theme, in which Candidate Biden has authenticity and Candidate Clinton doesn’t.
Those pundits! They initiated this low-IQ theme early in Campaign 2000. By the fall of 1999, Candidates Bradley, McCain and Bush were all said to have high authenticity, while Candidate Gore was a fake.
This year, they’ve re-engineered this favorite them, using the possible Candidate Biden as the vehicle for denouncing Clinton. This theme was threatened by last week’s Maureen Dowd flap, which helps explain why the topic disappeared so fast.
As far as we know, Joe Biden is a perfectly decent person. There’s no reason why he shouldn’t run for president if he wishes—but he does provide the pundit corps with the perfect way to extend their decades-old attacks on the obvious bad character of both Clintons and Gore.
Did Uncle Joe go skulking off to tell his mournful story to Dowd—off the record, with a somewhat nasty Clinton hook thrown in? If so, that might have put their favorite theme in peril. They weren’t eager to discuss the possibility, and they stopped discussing it fast.
Along the way, we got to see our mainstream pundits in action. And how about this? On Tuesday evening’s Chris Hayes program, Joan Walsh got something very right!
Say what? Did a major mainstream pundit actually tell the truth about Maureen Dowd that night? Did she do so in prime time? On national cable TV?
Dearest darlings, it just isn’t done! Potentially, it’s bad for careers! The pundit corps has always deferred to the poisonous, broken-souled Dowd. But on Tuesday evening, right there on our screen, we saw Walsh tell the truth.
Walsh told the truth about Dowd and the Times. This is never done!
As the interview started, Hayes was playing it very safe, as he always does at such times. The corporate star with the massive income potential said he didn't know what to think about the report which had appeared that day in Politico.
Had Joe Biden been the source for Dowd's latest anti-Clinton poison? More strikingly, had he been the source off the record, not for attribution?
Chris Hayes didn't know what to say about this unconfirmed report. But uh-oh! After briefly covering for Biden and Hayes, Joan Walsh made it clear. She did have some things to say about the new report.
Walsh proceeded to tell the truth about Maureen Dowd. At the financial level of Maddow and Hayes, this is never done. For the full transcript, click here:
HAYES (10/6/15): What is going on? I mean, what do you make of this? Honestly, I read that story today and I was like, “That’s a doozy. I don’t know what to do with this.”Hayes was too big a coward to do it. But Walsh managed to notice the problem with what Biden was said to have done.
WALSH: Well, I don’t know what to do with it either. I have no idea, although when I read the original Dowd column, I thought it sounded like he could be the source for it. Or, you know, he was telling a lot of people this story in a lot of detail and she had—
You know, I think— My heart goes out to Joe Biden. I love the man. He’s entitled to run. He would be a wonderful candidate. It’s a little late, but the reason it’s late is because his son was sick and died.
So I have a hard time holding that against him. What Democrats will hold against him, if he was the source for that story, is taking it to Maureen Dowd, who then turned around and portrayed it, in the most debilitating way to Hillary Clinton, the notion of Biden values being better than Clinton values.
A woman who has attacked not just the Clintons, but his friend Barack Obama, for years and years and years, in the most personal and vicious terms. Why choose her? Why open your test run that way, that’s going to be depicted not as you would be a great candidate, but that this woman would lower the office? That's wrong.
If the Politico report was right, Biden had taken his story to Maureen Dowd, “who has attacked not just the Clintons, but his friend Barack Obama, for years and years and years, in the most personal and vicious terms,” Walsh correctly said.
Walsh even managed to notice the way Dowd’s column had slimed the Clintons. According to the story Dowd told, Joe Biden's dying son had used his last few nouns to slime the Clintons one last time! Why would Biden take his story to this person, Walsh was willing to ask.
Walsh was willing to stand by her guns when Jonathan Alter ran for the bushes. Speaking next, Alter cowered and hid, deferring to Biden and Dowd.
Alter was able to see no evil. Once again, Joan Walsh could:
HAYES (continuing directly): What do you think?Alter said he knows both Biden and Dowd; almost surely, this is the start of the problem. He then began imagining what must have occurred. As always in such circumstances, he imagined it in a way in which no one could be criticized in any way at all—neither Biden nor Dowd.
ALTER: I just don’t think that’s what happened. I mean, I know both of them. And he was grieving. I highly doubt that he held a meeting with his staff. “Who should we plant this with? Should it be Maureen Dowd?”
No, they’ve known each other for 25 years, well. I think that they both—they were just having a conversation. I imagine that later, Maureen went back to him or his staff and said, “Can I use this if it’s not attributed?” And they probably were thinking about other things and said, “Sure.”
It doesn’t have the feel to me, I know it looks this way to Politico, but based on my own experience, it doesn't have the feel of a calculated move by Joe Biden to run up a trial balloon with Maureen Dowd shortly after his son died.
According to this consummate insider, Biden’s staff was “thinking about other things” when they told Dowd that she could use the story “if it’s not attributed.” They were just completely distracted! So they gave their OK!
Alter was seeing no evil this night. That said, here’s an obvious question which never got asked or answered: Why couldn’t the story have been used for attribution, on the record, with Biden both quoted and named?
Alter didn’t explain that part, and Hayes didn’t ask him. Eventually, it came to this. Walsh stuck by her guns:
WALSH: I actually think that Jonathan and I could both be right about this, in the sense they may well have had a conversation that started out as a private conversation, but then she decided to use it and somebody gave her permission to use it, if indeed that's how it happened. And this is a person who is really responsible for some of the worst narratives about both the Clintons and President Obama in journalism right now.Alter was seeing no evil this night; throughout the segment, Hayes avoided such conflicts altogether. It was left to Walsh to note the decades-old problem—a problem which always has no name with insiders like Alter around.
ALTER: But I don’t think Biden should be held responsible for the fact that Maureen Dowd turned it into an anti-Hillary column.
WALSH: I guess I do.
Maureen Dowd has been a cancer on the discourse for decades! That said, the New York Times just keeps printing her disordered dreck. And career liberals just keep enabling it.
It’s very, very, very rare to hear true statements about Maureen Dowd. She’s a power at the New York Times, and the New York Times is a major power within the world of overpaid national "journalists."
Dowd has spread poisonous themes for years about both Clintons, about Candidate Gore, and about Biden's pal Obama. Unfortunately, many people are influenced by these themes, even including many liberals. With people like Alter and Hayes around, they never hear the problems with these themes explored.
In early 1999, the many people Alter knows began to say that Candidate Bradley was comfortable in his own skin while Candidate Gore lacked authenticity. Alter kept his trap shut then; so did E.J. and all the others. Now, the popular theme is active again, with Candidate Biden provisionally cast in the Saint Bradley role.
Dowd has sold poisonous, dim-bulb tales for decades—about both Clintons, about Gore and Obama. But people, please grow up!
Biden has known her, well, for decades. Alter knows her too. Beyond that, Biden and Dowd are both Irish.
Chris Matthews says that helps too!